Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Historical Fantasy Books I’ve Read

This topic came at a perfect time because I've recently discovered, contrary to what I previously believed, that I really like historical fantasy.

I know historical *fantasy* is not quite the same as non-fantasy historical books since they often alter the history, but I've found they still make interesting use of the settings and cultures, and it's still different than if the book had been set in today's time.

So, since I don't have any particular times and places that are my favorites, I thought I'd just share with you the historical fantasy books I've read and enjoyed recently. I didn't have a lot to choose from, but I made sure to only include books I gave 3 stars and up :-)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week my topic is:

Top Ten Historical Fantasy Books I’ve Read

Heart of the Kraken by A.W. Exley | books, reading, book covers
Winterspell by Claire Legrand | books, reading, book covers
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason | books, reading, book covers
Ocean's Justice by Demelza Carlton | books, reading, book covers
Drown by Esther Dalseno | books, reading, book covers

10. Heart of the Kraken by A.W. Exley

I put this book at the top because it’s a steampunk set in a fantasy world about a mermaid and a man who controls the kraken, but it still has a historical vibe what with the steampunk and magic rather than modern technology.

9. Winterspell by Claire Legrand – Review

I also put this book near the top because it’s only minimally set in early 1900s New York. The rest is set in a fantasy world and is a retelling of The Nutcracker, but with magic and faeries (but it definitely has a historical vibe because of the characters and the writing style).

8. The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason – Review

Set in Victorian London, England, this book is about a newly trained vampire hunter deciding between her heart and her duty.

7. Turbulence and Triumph Series by Demelza Carlton

Set around the late 1910s in the Indian Ocean, Ocean’s Justice is about a mermaid who gets picked up by ship crew and falls in love with one of the men. The second book is set in 1920s West Australia, but I can’t tell you what it’s about because that’s a spoiler 😛

6. Drown by Esther Dalseno – Review

This Little Mermaid retelling doesn’t say where and when it’s set, but given the culture and lack of technology, it’s definitely the past.

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg | books, reading, book covers
The Three Sisters by Sonia Halbach | books, reading, book covers
[easyazon_image alt=”His Master’s Summons by Cassie Sweet | books, reading, book covers” align=”none” height=”500″ identifier=”B01AEJUJS4″ locale=”US” src=”” style=”min-width:100%;min-height:100%;height:auto;overflow:hidden;object-fit:cover;” />
Beckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne | books, reading, book covers
The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot | books, reading, book covers

5. The Paper Magician Series by Charlie N. Holmberg – Review

Also set in Victorian London, albeit a magic-altered one, this series is about a young woman doing her paper magic apprenticeship, having magic-filled adventures, and falling in love with the man she’s doing her apprenticeship under.

4. The Three Sisters by Sonia Halbach – Review

Set in 1854 New York, this is a fun, adventurous, paranormal take on the Night Before Christmas poem with siblings and cousins who get trapped in an underground city.

3. His Master’s Summons by Cassie Sweet – Review

Set in 1897 London, this is a creepy, ominous M-M romance about a violinist who, even when he dies and is brought back to life, still cannot escape the hold of the dark fae who controls him.

2. Bonds of Blood Series by Daniel de Lorne – Review

Set first in 1390 Carcassonne, France, then in 1792 near Neulehn, Saxony, then in modern day Perth, Australia, this dark love story is about twin brother vampires, bound by a supernatural empath-type connection, and the man one of them loves. The second book, set mostly in 1700s Normandy and Salzburg, is about a witch and her unrequited love for an oracle who loves someone else.

1. The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot – Review

Set in 1903, London, England, this book is about the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde drug gone wrong, creating a city of heart-eating monsters, and the two teenagers who save it (one is an empath, and the other has supernatural abilities of her own). This book is AMAZING, and I recommend it so hard.


Talk to me!

What historical fantasy books would make YOUR top ten list?
What are you favorite historical settings in any historical genre?


Your Thoughts


30 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Historical Fantasy Books I’ve Read

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  1. Katrina

    For me, it’d definitely have to be the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare! I just absolutely adore that series.
    I think this an interesting twist to this week’s topic and while historical fantasy is less conventional and somewhat out of my comfort zone, I’ll have to check a few of these out!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I haven’t read that series, but I’ve heard great things about it! I read mostly fantasy, so it makes sense that, when I read historical, it’d be fantasy too lol. But stepping out of your comfort can be fun! Good luck if you do give any of these a try 🙂

  2. Anissa @ She Reads Too Much

    AH, I got SO excited when I saw the title for this post!! I see that Drown is there, and I remember reading your review on it and already saying I need to get it, but I still haven’t!! I clearly need to get it soon (it is so hard keeping track of books I need to read haha). I’m definitely going to check out the other ones you’ve listed because they sound amazeballs. Lovely post!! 😀

    1. Kristen Burns

      I didn’t realize you liked historical fantasy so much 😀 You should definitely check some of these out then because you’d probably love them! Thank you 🙂

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    I love historical fantasy…actually, I love historical put into any genre! 😉 I haven’t read any of these on your list, but I own some of Gleason’s. I can’t think of any right off the top of my head…but I was just talking about a trilogy with some friends over the weekend – Eire’s Viking – I really enjoyed it. I think Britain is probably my favorite historical setting, but again, I’m a fan of history in my stories. 🙂
    Ooh, The Night Circus was a good read. And The Historian…that was a great read. Yay! I remembered a few. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m still debating whether to continue with the Gleason series. I do seem to read a lot set in Victorian London, but I don’t do it on purpose lol. At least it’s a good setting! I haven’t heard of Eire’s Viking, but I’ll look it up 🙂

      I’ve actually been pushing The Night Circus back because I haven’t felt like I was in the right mood, but I didn’t realize it was set in the past. Maybe I would be in the right mood for it!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t even mean to read about Victorian England so much lol, it just comes up a lot. It’s a good time period though, I do enjoy it 🙂 I don’t know if I’ve read anything from Regency England, I’ll have to keep an eye out for it!

  4. Greg

    I never used to read historical fiction but I do sometimes now. Blogging is partly to blame. 🙂 I’m picky about it though and tend to like stuff that have a mysterious or supernatural element, and a few have been steampunk/ clockwork ish and that’s stuff I’d like to read more of.

    I’ve read Gleason but it was her other serie set in an alternate steampunk England. Ocean’s Justice sounds good, I like the idea of a mermaid being picked up- that can’t end well LOL (or maybe it does). Anything merfolk preferably with a edge will get a look from me. 🙂

    The Heartless City I remember your review of that, and it does sound kinda good.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I’m still not into non-fantasy historical stuff for the most part (you already know my exception to every rule is circus lol), so I like the supernatural elements. I keep trying steampunk in order to give a fair chance, but I think it’s just not really for me.

      I mean, I don’t wanna tell you how the mermaid one ends since, you know, spoilers, but that was one of my 3 or 3.5s because not a whole lot actually happened throughout the book. I think it’s free on Amazon though. And she was a pretty feisty mermaid lol. But The Heartless City is probably one of those books that’s gonna end up on, like, every list now. You know TTTs are, we all end up using our favorites over and over lol.

  5. Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm

    Wow, I haven’t read any of these! You’re always reading books I haven’t picked up haha. I’ve heard of Winterspell though and I’m thinking about picking that up around next christmas – since The Nutcracker reminds me of Christmas 🙂

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, I’m always reading books that nobody’s picked up since I read mostly indie/self-pub. But they’re so good that I want other people to read them!

      You should totally read Winterspell around Christmas time! That’s what I did. I mean, it’s not exactly a Christmassy book, but the Nutcracker is definitely a Christmas Time thing, and the book is wintery.

  6. Liz @ Freyja Eats Books

    Oh I love your list ! The opposite of mine ^^ I really want to read The Heartless City, you make it sound so interesting !

    1. Kristen Burns

      You should definitely read The Heartless City if it interests you! I (obviously) loved it. And how funny that we did opposite topics, I’ll go check yours out now 🙂